Luckily, an out-of-uniform forestry officer was in the right place at the right time when he noticed two men announce they were selling the bird.
“The officer told the men he wanted to buy it and directed them to where he’d meet them with the money,” Luke Brannon, manager for Libassa Wildlife Sanctuary, told The Dodo. “He rang ahead and organized for officers to arrest them.”
By that time, the eagle had his legs tied together and was wrapped in a canvas bag — evidence that the men had smuggled him. While being arrested, the men claimed they had found the bird on the side of the road and thought he was an owl.